NRL Clubs to Choose Opponents in 2008

In a surprise announcement today, the NRL has hatched a plan in replacement to the current pool system for NRL clubs. In 2008 NRL clubs have the option of ‘choosing’ their opponents for home matches in a ranked order.

Currently under the pool system, the NRL draw is divided into two and teams only meet certain opponents once a year as opposed to twice a season (home and away match-up)

The current system is a little bit of a lottery and in some cases prevents big clashes as higher ranked teams might only meet one another on a single occasion.

With the new announcement today, clubs can choose who they would prefer to meet in home games during the year and the NRL will do its best to accommodate the requests; taking into account fairness and earnings from potential match-ups. The possibility of more local derbies and increased gate takings from blockbuster match ups more often is attractive to both NRL clubs and the NRL administration itself.

Its certainly an interesting move and it will be even more interesting to see the chosen opponents from each club. Will clubs lean towards profit or a smoother path to the finals?

It seems certain that many clubs will shy away from facing the might of Melbourne on more than one occasion. The Storm do not attract a large away crowd and the clash would certainly be a tough one; 99.9% of NRL clubs would be keeping right away from 2 clashes a year with Melbourne.

The same goes for other regional clubs such as the Cowboys. Another talented team that also don’t have a large travel contingent of fans when they play interstate and finally the same goes for the Warriors – yet another strong regional team with limited attractiveness to other clubs.

So this new theory could prove a mammoth waste of time; certainly most of the Sydney based clubs will shy away from the stronger regional teams with limited accompanying fans – meaning the NRL will need to step in a rank teams opponents anyway!

Only time will tell. And everyone is certainly waiting with interest.

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